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Bodywork for Migraines

When treating migraines from a holistic approach, sufferers may wish to consider bodywork and physical treatments to alleviate symptoms and frequency of attacks. Several techniques are available from practitioners and specialists to relieve migraine pain, control physiological responses and eliminate nerve inflammation.

The Chinese Medicine Practice of Acupuncture has shown much promise for the treatment of migraines. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles through the skin at reflex points to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue for the relief of migraine symptoms. Clinical trials have shown acupuncture to help reduce headache pain by targeting the health of blood vessels involved in migraine attacks.

[themedy_media type=”youtube” url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqSKVn-Syx0″]

Similarly, the practice of Acupressure is also effective in treating migraines. Acupressure uses the same reflex points as acupuncture, but the areas are stimulated with gentle pressure using fingers, hands or small seeds instead of needles. Points can be held, rubbed or tapped during an acute attack to relieve migraine pain. Acupressure can self-administered or migraine sufferers can attend sessions by a certified acupresure specialist to prevent migraine frequency.

The alternative medicine technique called Biofeedback is another option for the treatment of migraines. Biofeedback aims to condition the body’s response to the onset of imbalances. Biofeedback focuses on connecting your mind to physical reactions from the body and helps train it to control bodily functions such as muscle tightening and heart rate. During a treatment session, an individual has electronic sensors that measure biological feedback, including migraine stress triggers. Learning to control your body’s response to stress can help prevent or stop a migraine attack.

Lastly, treating migraines with Chiropractic therapy can significantly help migraine sufferers. Chiropractic therapy offers spinal alignment to help keep the body balanced and functioning optimally. When used for migraine treatment, chiropractors align the vertebrae in an attempt to alleviate nerve irritation. Chiropractors believe that nerve irritation along the spine can create chemical imbalances in the brain, which are perhaps the number one cause of migraines. When specific attention is given to posture and restoring spinal alignment, the nerves function freely and without interruption.

Visiting a chiropractor migraine headaches can include a single or multiple visits to correct spinal misalignment. Most sessions provide immediate relief from symptoms associated with migraines but proper posture, consistent stretching, and good spine health are required for more permanent relief.

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Natural Health News and Articles

Juvenile Fibromyalgia: Identifying and Managing Fibromyalgia in Children

What is Juvenile Fibromyalgia?

Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome (JPFS) is part of a group of conditions collectively known as Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome. Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome, or JPFS, is a condition that results in symptoms of overall musculoskeletal and joint pain and fatigue. Data is sparse in the area of prevalence, but it is thought that up to 7% of children under 18 have JPFS or similar condition. It is more common in females and the diagnosis in children usually occurs between the ages of 13 and 15.

Along with joint pain and fatigue, other symptoms include disturbed sleep, morning stiffness, headaches, abdominal pain, irritable bowel, tight muscles and periods of swelling. Depression and anxiety are often present. JPFS is frequently triggered by an injury, illness or stress. Many patients with JPFS also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

How Is Juvenile Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Diagnosing JPFS starts with a medical exam which includes a family history, physical exam and a tender point test of all 18 sites. Diagnostic tests should be conducted to rule out all rheumatic diseases and arthritis. To meet diagnostic criteria there must be patient report of pain in three or more body areas over a minimum of three months. In addition, at least five painful tender points must be experienced upon palpation during the exam. Additional symptoms such as difficulty with sleep, irritable bowels, fatigue and headache are often present and these symptoms tend to worsen with stress and/or anxiety.

JPFS can have severe effects on a child’s physical and emotional functioning. School attendance, socialization, and general quality of life are all impacted by this condition.

Managing Juvenile Fibromyalgia Holistically

JPFS is incurable but its symptoms can be controlled by understanding and preventing triggers, maintaining a focus on physical and psychosocial wellness,  and effective management of pain symptoms. As with the treatment of any minor, family involvement is a critical part of the treatment plan.

A traditional therapeutic treatment approach involves a team. This team consists of a combination of collaborating professionals to include at minimum: a pediatric  rheumatologist, physical therapist, and psychologist along with the identified patient and his or her family. The traditional treatment course utilizes a combination of medication, exercise, physical therapy and a form of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

A holistic treatment approach is meant to be “in addition to,” not necessarily “instead of a” traditional treatment approach. In general, holistic treatments focus on addressing all aspects of an individual, not just the physical. The overarching philosophy is to live a more balanced lifestyle and understand that physical illnesses are the symptoms of a greater imbalance that may or may not have a root cause in the physical. Holistic treatment of JPFS may include the traditional therapies discussed above in concert with non-traditional medicine.

Recently published studies suggest that the use of Yoga, Tai Chi, and/or Acupuncture may reduce pain, fatigue and stiffness and improve quality of life in patients with Fibromyalgia. Many living with Fibromyalgia manage their diet and nutrition to alleviate symptoms and also utilize therapeutic massage to ease muscle soreness. However, there has not been enough scientific evidence supporting the use of vitamins, nutrition or massage to date.

Many alternative treatments can assist with pain management in Fibromyalgia.  Though patients report positive outcomes in using these alternative treatments, scientific support has not been substantially rigorous enough to make any hard effectiveness claims. Nonetheless, so many are searching for holistic treatments and will consider these minimally-invasive treatments to avoid medication side-effects and to adopt a balanced approach to health and wellness.

The following alternative treatments have been used in the treatment of Fibromyalgia:

No child need be robbed of a full life following a diagnosis of JPFS. Incorporating a holistic approach to the treatment of JPFS most often includes the traditional route of coping strategies, physical exercise, physical therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and perhaps medication with any of the alternative treatments that help reduce or alleviate the associated symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

By Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.

Resources

  • fibromyalgia-treatment.com
  • Treating Juvenile Fibromyalgia by Jennifer Cerbasi, (2012) FoxNews.com
  • webmd.com – Fibromyalgia Guide
  • KidsHealth.org – Fibromyalgia.

 

Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D. is a freelance writer with a doctorate in psychology. Her personal essays and parenting articles have appeared in various newspapers and magazines. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four girls, one of whom has extensive special needs. She can be found writing about her adventures in parenting at her blog, Lost In Holland.

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Treatment

Biofeedback for Migraines

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

Biofeedback appears to be especially effective in relieving migraine pain. This relaxation technique uses special equipment to teach you how to monitor and control certain physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.

Experts theorize that biofeedback‘s success is related to stress. Many of the ailments it has proven effective for are triggered or worsened by stress so learning to control it is key.

Biofeedback can focus on one or more techniques depending on the issue in question. Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback revolves around muscle tension, temperature or thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature, neurofeedback or electroencephalography records brain wave activity, galvanic skin response training uses the amount of sweat on the skin and heart rate variability biofeedback involves controlling the heart rate.

Sensors are placed on various parts of the body depending on the problem and type of biofeedback. These sensors then give responses from a monitor box in the form of a changing sound, varying brightness or line on a computer screen. The person undergoes a series of mental exercises that affect the feedback.

Biofeedback can be useful at home. A variety of biofeedback options are available with many types of monitors along with audio and/or visual programs.

One of the main benefits of biofeedback is the ability to become more attuned with the body. Many people prefer treatment without using medications while others have found drugs haven’t successfully addressed their problem. Biofeedback can be a viable alternative to explore in these situations.

The Mayo Clinic states, “Biofeedback appeals to people for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s noninvasive.
  • It may reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
  • It may be a treatment alternative for those who can’t tolerate medications.
  • It may be an option when medications haven’t worked well.
  • It may be an alternative to medications for some conditions during pregnancy.
  • It helps people take charge of their health.”

It has shown success in helping a variety of physical ailments including headaches. It has also been useful in emotional issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.

  • May Clinic, Biofeedback: Using your mind to improve your health, http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/biofeedback/basics/definition/prc-20020004
  • Gilmore B, et al. Treatment of acute migraine headache. American Family Physician. 2011;83:271-280.
    Hildreth C, Lynm C, Glass R. Migraine Headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301(24):2608.
  • The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, aapb.org
  • National Institutes of Health—Biofeedback, nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/news-articles/002241.htm

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Image

Migraine Infographic

Migraine's 4 stages and natural holistic remedies

Migraine’s 4 stages and natural holistic remedies

Read about Natural Holistic Therapies for Migraines that formed the basis for the infographic above

 


Supplements – 5 supplements (Riboflavin, Magnesium, Ginkgolide B, Coq10, Omega 3) have shown to benefit migraine sufferers.

Herbs – Feverfew and butterbur are popular herbs that are commonly used to provide relief from migraines.

Biofeedback – This relaxation technique uses special equipment to teach you how to monitor and control certain physical responses related to stress, such as muscle tension.

CranioSacral Therapy – CranioSacral therapy is a form of treatment which has its origins in osteopathy and can be very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches.

Meditation – Meditation, an age-old technique of mentally concentrating to have resolution, can help treat migraine symptoms both physically and emotionally.

Essential Oils – Lavender oil is touted as being one of the best for migraine pain management.

Heat & Cold Therapy – Apply hot & cold compresses to the head or neck can be helpful in relieving pain & tension.

Homeopathy – Delivered at small homeopathic dosages, the SNRA molecule has shown to be fast-acting in migraine relief.

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Treatment

Biofeedback

Imagine being able to lower blood pressure or improve any number of health conditions ranging from urinary incontinence to migraines and even chronic pain simply by controlling the body with the mind? Biofeedback has been shown to help a variety of physical and mental challenges.

How It Works

Experts theorize that biofeedback's success is related to stress. Many of the ailments it has proven effective for are triggered or worsened by stress so learning to control it is key.

Biofeedback can focus on one or more techniques depending on the issue in question. Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback revolves around muscle tension, temperature or thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature, neurofeedback or electroencephalography records brain wave activity, galvanic skin response training uses the amount of sweat on the skin and heart rate variability biofeedback involves controlling the heart rate.

Often people work with a therapist in a healthcare setting. Sensors are placed on various parts of the body depending on the problem and type of biofeedback. These sensors then give responses from a monitor box in the form of a changing sound, varying brightness or line on a computer screen. The person undergoes a series of mental exercises that affect the feedback.

Individual sessions can vary from 30 to 60 minutes while the number is determined by how quickly a person masters control of his or her responses. People with headaches and incontinence often need at least 10 weekly sessions with follow up appointments while someone looking to control his or her blood pressure may need at least 20 before seeing improvement.

Another alternative is to use biofeedback at home. A variety of biofeedback options are available with many containing monitors along with audio and/or visual programs.

Benefits

One of the main benefits of biofeedback is the ability to become more attuned with the body. Many people prefer treatment without using medications while others have found drugs haven’t successfully addressed their problem. Biofeedback can be a viable alternative to explore in these situations.

It has shown success in helping a variety of physical ailments ranging from asthma, constipation, high blood pressure and heart issues to headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence, Raynaud’s disease, and pain among others. It has also been useful in emotional issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.

Precautions

Medically speaking biofeedback has been shown to be safe with no negative side effects.

However, as with any medical treatment, it’s important to seek a doctor’s advice and to find a qualified provider. Biofeedback practitioners can include doctors and nurses as well as psychiatrists and psychologists. To learn more and find a therapist near you, visit the website for the Association for Applied Psychology and Biofeedback at www.aapb.org

Summary

By learning to mentally control aspects of the physical body, people can use biofeedback to help treat a variety of physical and emotional ailments.

References

  • The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
    aapb.org
  • National Institutes of Health—Biofeedback
    nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/news-articles/002241.htm